A Conversation on Alaska’s Budget Crisis

My August Conversation with Mike Chmielewski on Alaska's Budget Crisis on Radio Free Palmer. Listen Here <a href="http://www.radiofreepalmer.org/2016/08/19/matsu-college-professor-holly-bell-talks-about-budgets-8-10-2016/">http://www.radiofreepalmer.org/2016/08/19/matsu-college-professor-holly-bell-talks-about-budgets-8-10-2016/</a>

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Denali II

Well-structured sales tax does more for Alaska than income tax

<span class="updated">As Alaska works to balance the state budget, one thing is certain: We will all have less money in our wallets. The scale of our deficit means we are likely to see both PFD reductions and new taxes. While the governor has proposed an income tax, a sales tax may a better alternative for Alaska.</span> To continue article, <a href="http://www.adn.com/article/20160401/well-structured-sales-tax-does-more-alaska-income-tax">click here</a>

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Occam’s razor can cut Alaska’s budget problems to the bone

<strong>My latest from Alaska Dispatch News:</strong> As our legislators gather in Juneau to consider Alaska’s budget and how to bridge the billions of dollars of shortfall between state income and spending, there are a few key points I would like them to keep in mind. I have twice listened to presentations on the various budget proposals and have each time believed that the principle of Occam’s razor was not being applied. Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle that says when you have competing hypotheses, you should select the one with the fewest assumptions. Budgets are the state’s hypotheses of what the fiscal situation will look like over the next year and beyond. In every case, the budget proposals I have seen are based on copious assumptions about future states of numerous variables, two of which I will discuss here. When a budget proposal begins making assumptions about variables a decade or more

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Denali II

The Positive Side of The President’s Visit to Alaska

The President’s recent visit to Alaska was in many ways controversial, but there was one<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_4392.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2747 alignright" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_4392-225x300.jpg" alt="Denali" width="225" height="300" /></a> positive aspect to it: It has inspired me to start blogging again. While I realize this excites some, frightens others, and disinterests most, there were so many things I wanted to blog about during the President’s visit, that I had to give the blog a facelift and return the hamsters to the power wheel. So where have I been and what have I been doing? Writing for money primarily, but that kind of writing doesn’t really let me fully express myself. It’s like a perpetual job interview in which you have to keep editors happy and manage your emotional outbursts. You have no idea how badly I want to overuse exclamation points!!!!!! Phew, that’s better. Since the President is gone and discussion of his trip is mostly over,

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Old Age…

<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ID-100102398-23.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2741 alignright" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ID-100102398-23-200x300.jpg" alt="Medicine" width="200" height="300" /></a>My doctor of many years decided he’d rather spend his days hiking than playing ‘identify this rash’ twelve times a day and retired a few months ago at the age of 71. This left me, for the second time in my life, with the reluctant task of replacing a retired doctor. I hate finding new doctors. When my very first doctor retired, the only physician in my small town who was taking patients was an osteopath. I didn’t care much for him. I felt like he was always treating me with special herbs and spices instead of practicing medicine, yet he looked great by comparison to the doctor I ended up with in the next city I moved to. When we got to Alaska, we asked some of the doctors we knew from our neighborhood and civic organizations who they would see for

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7 Outcomes of Legalized Marijuana in Alaska (or not)

<h2><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ID-10020100.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-2670" alt="marijuana" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ID-10020100-200x300.jpg" width="200" height="300" /></a>Marijuana in Alaska?</h2> <p>As the ballot measure allowing citizens to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana in the State of Alaska moves forward, I started to think about some possible changes we might see in our state if the measure passes. The following are the top 7 changes our state might see if recreational use of marijuana becomes legal:</p> <p>1)    Tok will become the #1 tourist destination in the state and Fast Eddy’s will change its name to Whoa Dude.</p> <p>2)    A new State law will require all vending machines to carry Funyuns and Peggy’s pies.</p> <p>3)    Sharing a single joint with several people while enjoying Alaska’s scenery will be known as a “Hatcher’s Pass”.</p> <p>4)    The average length of Air Force One refueling stops in Alaska will increase by 17%.</p> <p>5)    Whether or not university students should be allowed to carry firearms on campus will

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The Time May Be Right To End The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend

<h2><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ID-10073329.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-2531" alt="Alaska" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ID-10073329-300x216.jpg" width="300" height="216" /></a>The Dividend is a Redistribution Policy</h2> <p>The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as an investment that would allow for the continuation of funding of Alaska’s essential services once the Alaskan oil resources had been exhausted. While a portion of the income from the Fund comes from oil revenue (about 11% of total oil revenue to the state), most of the growth in the fund has come from re-investment and additional money put in by the legislature during the “rich” years of the inevitable boom and bust cycles experienced by Alaska. Based on its purpose, to fund the Alaska government once oil tax revenues have dried up, many people in Alaska (myself included) believe paying an annual dividend to residents is inconsistent with the Fund’s goal. In a 2010 study by the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research,

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Keynesian Economics and Liberty are Not Compatible

<p><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ID-10071726.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-2522" alt="Liberty" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ID-10071726-300x199.jpg" width="300" height="199" /></a>Me with Baked Flounder and Steve Schippert on Radio214 discussing why Keynesian economics and liberty are not compatible. Oh, and a little about Alaska too.</p> <h3><a href="http://radio214.com/2013/04/30/hollybell8/">Click here to listen to the podcast</a></h3> <p><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com"><strong> Return to home page</strong></a></p>

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Statistics on Gun Violence in Alaska Don’t Support Additional Gun Control

By Holly A. Bell<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/?attachment_id=2228" rel="attachment wp-att-2228"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2228" alt="No Shooting @ Mud Bay" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/No-Shooting-300x200.jpg" width="300" height="200" /></a> As someone who has always protected the rights of individuals to own firearms, I am often dismissed lately as less than a reliable source based on the fact that I happen to live in Alaska (even though I’ve only lived here a few years). Of course Alaska has a reputation for being a very gun-friendly state with liberal firearms laws and a significant hunting culture. Or, as someone rather explicitly stated recently, we are a bunch of “gun nuts”. Yes, Alaskans own a lot of guns, but I would like to share some statistics that you might find interesting. The State of Alaska is one of 17 states that participate in the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.cdc.gov/injury/FundedPrograms/index.html">CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)</a>. Here are a few statistics from <a rel="nofollow" href="http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/forum/25/4winter2009/b_nvdrs.html">Alaska's report</a>: <ul> <li>The rate of

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Labor Day is the End of Summer in Alaska

<h2><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_0112-3.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-1854" title="IMG_0112-3" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_0112-3-300x199.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="199" /></a>Leaving summer behind in Alaska.</h2> In most parts of the United States, Labor Day Weekend is the symbolic end of summer. While the kids have gone back to school, little has changed from the previous weekend. The days remain warm, vegetables are still ripening in the garden, and fall colors are still weeks away. In <b>Alaska</b>, Labor Day Weekend is more than the symbolic end of summer. Summer really ended here this weekend. The first indication that summer was over happened the week before Labor Day Weekend (LDW) when the trees started to show hints of yellow and orange. By LDW they were beginning to fully engage their fall foliage and I found leaves beginning to cover the grass. On Sunday of LDW I noticed the fireweed had started to turn red in the valley and looked up at the mountains to

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